Conditions in the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York have emerged as a key issue in extraditing Jabir Motiwala, an aide of one of India’s most wanted, Dawood Ibrahim, with a judge in the Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday seeking more information on possible risk to his human rights, if extradited.
Motiwala, 51, chose not to appear in the court. Judge John Zani said: “Given his state of health and suicidal tendencies, what happens if he is extradited to the jail in New York.” Under UK laws, extradition is blocked if there is a risk to the requested person’s human rights in the requesting country.
Motiwala, who was arrested in London on August 2018, is sought by US authorities to face charges of money-laundering USD 1.4 million worth of proceeds from narcotics smuggling. Witnesses on behalf of Motiwala have deposed to the court, alleging inhumane and degrading conditions in US jails.
The court set November 26 as the next date for hearing closing arguments in the case.
Florence Aveson, a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the US government, told the court that it has received information “of a general nature” on the jail conditions. More information on ongoing investigations is expected from US authorities, the court was told.
Karachi-based Motiwala was reportedly trapped by the FBI in a sting operation in which he was secretly recorded by agents while he dealt with drugs, extortion and money-laundering to the US. A law expert from Pakistan previously told the court FBI’s secret recording violated the country’s laws.
Besides the issue of human rights, Motiwala’s team has cited a passage of time as another reason to oppose extradition.